Honey Daniels is a 22-year-old, sexy, tough-minded, part-black, part-Latina hip-hop dancer in New York's East Harlem who dreams of making it big as a music video choreographer. She teaches hip-hop dancing at a local youth center and encourages the local kids to attend to keep them off the streets and out of trouble. When luck shines on Honey in the form of a famous music video director, named Michael, who casts her in one music video, she's encouraged to make the transition from dancer to choreographer. But Honey's sudden success comes with a price when Michael refuses to take "no" for an answer to his sexual advances and then tries to sabotage her career by blackballing her out of the business.Written by
It would have been impossible for this or any movie to be as sweet as Jessica Alba, but that doesn't keep it from trying.
Any comparisons between "Honey" and "Glitter" are probably due to both movies having script-work by Kate Lanier (who, funnily enough, isn't listed on the completed movie)... and, of course, to their having slightly similar plots. Except that "Glitter" is likely to be more of a black mark on Mariah Carey's book than "Honey" is on Jessica Alba's.
This movie about a kind-hearted young woman in New York who uses dancing to help the people in her neighbourhood (the people that she meets when she's walking down the street... sorry, couldn't resist) and who's plucked from a nightclub to become the Paula Abdul of the 21st century - she even has a little mole on her face - is aptly named; it's as sweet-natured as its title character and has little if any benefit on your system, except to slip down nice and easy and leave not very much behind. It's filled with all the realism you'd expect from the producer of "Legally Blonde" and "Josie and the Pussycats," but it's not quite as much fun as either. Part of it is a personal thing (the Rodney Jerkins-executive produced music that permeates the movie isn't my thing, rhythmic though it is), but the thin, originality-challenged scripting and silly dialogue are more of a problem; when our bartender-by-night/dance-teacher-by-day heroine tells a kid "Your flava's hot" it's a little embarrassing, although in fairness "Honey"'s street talk doesn't make you wince as much as some other examples of this kind of thing.
To be honest, the movie pretty much goes in one ear and out the other; there's not a single truly dramatic moment, with the setbacks coming on cue (when Li'l Romeo's character gets arrested it, and many other moments in the movie, plays like a less-than-brilliant After School Special) and the characters are right out of Cliches Central, from the almost saintly title character to the sexually predatory rival dancer. (And note to the filmmakers: as anyone who's ever watched MTV, VH-1 et al will confirm, music videos don't credit the choreographer on screen... regardless of what the one that plays next to the movie's end credits might say.)
But it's impossible to really hate "Honey"; the movie's too harmless and good-tempered for anyone to get into a hissyfit over its drawbacks, and though the R&B-flavoured cameos mean a lot of people who see this movie will probably be going "Who's this Tweet person?" Missy Elliott is genuinely funny in her very brief scenes. The dancing's also good, which is one of the main reasons to go and see movies like this; and though it doesn't actually seem to have anything like a narrative drive (it just seems to end instead of climax), there have been worse movies from music video directors, e.g. almost anything directed by Russell Mulcahy.
Oh yes, Jessica. She doesn't quite seem like the streetwise type, but she isn't supposed to be; she looks the part and comes off reasonably well, as well as having the edge over Jennifer Beals in "Flashdance" in that she actually does most of her own dancing. This isn't really the best vehicle for her, to be honest, but Jessica's an undeniable charmer on screen, and far too sexy for this or anything she's been in (with the arguable exception of "Paranoid") to be an unbearable experience. All she has to do is improve her choice of scripts...
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